Earlier this month, 15-year-old Jincy Dunne took a spill while playing with the boys high school team at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis. While cutting across the ice in a game, she collided with another player and sustained a concussion, forcing her off the ice.
You should see the other guy.
"I flipped over top of him and hit my head. He broke his femur," said Dunne, whose own high school doesn't have a hockey team, sparking some jealousy from friends when she began playing at Westminster. "[People asked], 'Why did you choose that team? Why not play for us?' We knew the coach and my brother knows the coach's son and he asked, so we said sure."
The Missouri hockey product has been making a lot of headlines lately, and not just for playing on a high school boys team as a 15-year-old. The 5-foot-6 defenseman also suits up with players years older than her -- including her older sister, Jessica -- as a member of the St. Louis Lady Blues 19U club. But her introduction to the hockey world may have come in January, when she helped lead the U.S. under-18 team to a silver medal at the U-18 Worlds in Finland.
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While the Americans lost 2-1 in overtime to Canada in the gold-medal game, Dunne shined at the tournament. Despite being the youngest player on the roster, she tied for second on the team with seven points and tied teammate Maddie Rolfes with a tournament-best plus-11 rating.
"It was such an amazing experience. We had such a great team and the coaching staff was incredible. It was the best trip I've ever been on," Dunne said. "Just in the couple of weeks I had with the U-18s, I learned so much."
Her age and gender have already made her a standout among her peers, but on a U-18 squad made up mostly of Minnesotans and Chicagoans, Dunne was also proud to be the lone representative of the Show Me State.
"On my Facebook I have people send me messages saying, 'It's so cool that you're from Missouri and you get to do this,'" Dunne said. "It's been fun blazing that trail."
Dunne isn't content only to set an example for her state. She's already aware of the responsibilities that come with being one of the best young hockey players in the world. With two younger brothers and two younger sisters, the honor student who volunteers with the homeless wants to set a proper example for children everywhere.
"I know who I want to be. I want to set that example for anybody who watches me play. I want to have integrity and character. That's very important to me," said Dunne, who started in roller hockey before discovering the women's hockey tournament at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. "I thought, 'Holy cow, that's what I want to be. That's where I want to go.'"
With her sights set on the 2014 Games in Sochi, Dunne is already dreaming big. And with a name that is likely to be heard more and more in the next few years, she also wants to make a difference.